Posted by: nancycurteman | October 19, 2018

Onomatopoeia as a Literary Device


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Simply put, onomatopoeias are verbs, nouns or interjections that imitate the natural sounds of something from the softest whisper to the loudest boom.

Here are a few examples of onomatopoeias: Animal sounds—tweet, woof, moo, meow. Nature sounds—splash, drip, whoosh, flash, rustle, crackle. People sounds—giggle, grunt, screech, murmur, whine, whew. Mechanicals—tick-tock, clickity clack, brrring, bong. These are a few of thousands of examples of onomatopoeia.

One more category I would mention is “made up” words that an author thinks kind of sound like a given action—fuff, mmff, rrrrr, ewww, aaagh.

Let’s look at why authors use this literary device. Use of onomatopoeia is a “show, don’t tell” device that taps into a readers senses. It enables readers to hear and feel story events. Readers step into the novel. Onomatopoeia creates an emphasis that makes writing much more lively, realistic and appealing to readers.

Perhaps most important, onomatopoeia adds a note of lighthearted fun to the sometimes laborious job of writing. Purrrr!


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